Outcomes Associated With Electrical Cardioversion for Atrial Fibrillation When Performed Autonomously by an Advanced Practice Provider

Theresa A. Strzelczyk, Rachel M. Kaplan, Meena Medler, Bradley P. Knight*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives This study sought to determine the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of elective electrical cardioversion (CV) for atrial fibrillation (AF) when performed autonomously by a trained advanced practice provider (APP) using a guideline-directed protocol. Background APPs have emerged as an integral part of the cardiovascular team. Methods A licensed advanced practice nurse-clinical nurse specialist was trained and obtained credentials to perform CVs. The advanced practice nurse performed 415 CVs autonomously (APP group) in a noninvasive procedure room with an electrophysiologist (EP) immediately available in an adjacent electrophysiology laboratory. The APP performed a history and physical examination, obtained informed consent, reviewed each patient with the supervising EP, and performed the CV. An anesthesiologist administered sedation. Outcomes were compared with 387 CVs performed by an MD when the APP was not available (MD group). Patient satisfaction scores were compared before and after the APP-directed CVs were performed. Results The proportion of patients discharged in sinus rhythm was the same in the APP group as it was in the MD group (95% vs. 96%, respectively; p = 0.49). There were 4 adverse events in the CVs performed by the APP: 1 transient ischemic attack and 3 occurrences of bradycardia requiring atropine or other medication. There was 1 adverse event in the MD group, which was hypotension requiring vasopressor initiation. Patient satisfaction scores were stable after initiation of APP-driven cardioversions. Conclusions With appropriate clinical training, an APP can safely perform CVs autonomously, using a protocol that includes a guideline-directed procedural checklist and physician supervision, with excellent patient satisfaction and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1452
Number of pages6
JournalJACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 11 2017


  • advanced practice provider
  • atrial fibrillation
  • cardioversion
  • nurse practitioner

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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